Woman shocked to learn online boyfriend is ex-husband; he's charged with stalking


A West St. Paul woman got a cruel surprise when a man she had been dating online for nearly a year turned out to be her ex-husband, the Pioneer Press reports.

The newspaper says prosecutors allege that Brian Matthew Cornelius, 36, of Sturgeon Lake, Minn., went to great lengths to create an online persona under a fake name with borrowed photos in order to carry out a virtual relationship with his former wife, according to charges filed this week in Dakota County. Now he is faces two counts of gross misdemeanor stalking.

The two were married 11 years, divorced in 2011 and have battled in court over custody issues related to their young children, the Pioneer Press reports.

As part of the ruse, Cornelius and his ex-wife traded email, texts, and other electronic communications, prosecutors say. She shared intimate details with Cornelius, including information about her struggles with her ex-husband. Prosecutors allege that Cornelius, posing as the online boyfriend, persuaded her not to pursue a protection order against him.

The woman started to figure out the deception when Cornelius began appearing at places where she told her online boyfriend she would be, the Pioneer Press reports. She says she feels "terrorized" and no longer feels safe.

According to a court order, Cornelius is not allowed to contact his ex-wife except to set up phone calls with their children.

Next Up

hazelewood burgers

3 Minnesota restaurants make it on 50 best burgers in America list

A travel website praised the restaurants' burgers in a recently released list.

Fire, firefighters

Firefighter critical after gun discharges during blaze, hitting him

The 35-year-old Cornell firefighter is hospitalized in critical condition

evelyn adams

After 2 years, sheriff's office seeks new leads in unsolved deadly home invasion

"The sheriff’s office is close to knowing exactly what occurred that night but needs your help," the sheriff's office said.

joseph heroff

Man charged in chase that ended with police fatally shooting suspect

The suspect who was shot has also been identified.

Royce Lewis

Twins' Royce Lewis tears his ACL, will undergo surgery

A huge blow for the former No. 1 draft pick.

Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 9.08.16 PM

Police release cause of death for daughter of MN Supreme Court Justice and Allina CEO

Olivia Chutich died from a combination of excessive drinking and hypothermia.


Science Museum of Minnesota to reopen this weekend

The museum will be open on weekends with limited capacity and other safety precautions.

Keith Ellison

State officials push for shortened sentences for some elderly inmates

A bill introduced in the state Legislature would allow elderly inmates to apply for shortened sentences if they show evidence of rehabilitation.


Walz says state will soon announce next COVID vaccine priority groups

In a "short time," the governor expects to be able to give all Minnesotans an approximate date for when they'll be able to get the vaccine.


Charges: Teen tried to run ex-girlfriend, her boyfriend off the road

Upon being arrested, he sent her an angry message on Snapchat.